an admirable achievement, and its wide range of reference makes it a useful work of reference for the history of Coriolanus in the study and on the stage (Philip Edwards, University of Liverpoool, Review of English Studies, Vol. XLVIII, No. 189 Feb '97)
it is odd that recent upmarket, single-play editions have been so rare ... The Oxford Shakespeare text edited by Brian Parker thus comes not a minute too soon. In addition to the best in contemporary editorial practice and contemporary scholarship, it offers as stage-sensitive an approach to a Shakespeare play as any edition to date. This edition, scholarly without being pedantic, timely rather than trendy, and as frankly theatrical as it is literary, will be consulted with pleasure and profit by university students, specialists in the early modern period, theater artists, and the general reader. (Linda Woodbridge, Shakespeare Quarterly)
--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition
Présentation de l'éditeur
This edition is fully annotated, with the notes facing the text. There are helpful sections at the front, and at the back there is a very wide range of questions for students, as well as the background to Shakespeare's England.
--Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.
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Shakespeare's Last Tragedy: An Overlooked Gem!!!24 mai 2006
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This play, written circa 1608, is the last of William Shakespeare's (1564 to 1616) eleven (some say ten) known tragedies. Even though it is known as a "Roman" or "political" play, serious readers will discover that it so much more. I found that it stayed with me long after I read it.
This play is set in ancient Rome. It is essentially the story of warrior Caius Marcius (later known as "Coriolanus") whose honor, pride, and sense of social rank dominates his life and interferes with his ability to function effectively when he's not on the battlefield.
One of the great attributes of this play is that it does not have many characters and thus is easy to follow. The major characters are as follows:
(1) Coriolanus (originally Caius Marcius): a valiant warrior and patrician (nobleman) with a non-overbearing wife. "A soldier to Cato's wish" and a modest hero who "hath deserved worthily of his country" but who lacks tact and refuses to placate "the mutable, rank-scented many." (2) Volumnia: his overbearing mother. "In anger, Juno-like." (3) Menenius Agrippa: "a humorous patrician" and an old and true friend of Coriolanus who is trusted by the plebeians (lower class) (4) Titus Lartius and Cominius: fellow generals with Coriolanus. (5) Sicinius and Brutus: tribunes (representatives of the plebeians) of the common people and Coriolanus' political enemies. "A pair of strange ones." (6) Tullus Aufidius: general of Rome's enemies and rival in glory to Coriolanus.
This "Shakespeare PELican" book (published by Penguin in 1999) has some interesting material before the play proper. I found the introduction to the play especially informative.
I would recommend, in order to get the full impact of this play, to either see it on film (the BBC production is excellent) or to see it on the stage.
Finally, I cannot understand why this play has been overlooked as one of Shakespeare's great works. (It was, in fact, written during Shakespeare's greatest period, 1599 to 1608.) The story itself is interesting with many subtle themes. The only thing I can think of is that there are some terms that you must know to properly understand the play (such as patrician, plebeian, tribune, etc.). These terms can be easily looked up in a good dictionary.
In conclusion, this play, in my opinion, is an overlooked gem. This book published by Penguin is an excellent resource for students, teachers, theatre professionals, and anyone interested in discovering this great play!!
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Shakespeare Meets Ayn Rand21 janvier 2012
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Any Shakespeare play that leaves people with totally different interpretations regarding the nature of the lead character can't be all bad. That said, "Coriolanus" suffers from its ambiguity.
The first time I read it was in college. My kindly professor laid out the case for seeing Coriolanus as a kind of fascist strongman brought down by his contempt for the people, and I went away comforted in my small-L liberalism. This time, however, reading it on my own, it was hard not to see Coriolanus as something else entirely, a deserving elitist brought down by an envious, parasitic mobocracy who couldn't bear to see him succeed. In short, John Galt in a toga.
A more disturbing realization with this second reading was that as a play, "Coriolanus" doesn't hold together. It's considered likely to be Shakespeare's last tragedy, written in 1608-09, but lacks for the vitality or singular inspiration you expect from the seasoned tragedian of "MacBeth" or "King Lear."
It has a fantastic first act as I read it, brimming with great dialogue, highly charged scenes, and a well-extended battle sequence. Act I also sets up the core issue of the rest of the play. "He that trusts to you,/Where he should find you lions, finds you hares/Where foxes, geese," is how the bold patrician Marcius puts it to the rabble rousers at the play's start. "He that depends/Upon your favors swims on fins of lead/And hews down oaks with rushes."
Marcius will later be renamed Coriolanus, after conquering the city Corioles. Rome proves more of a problem, where he's rejected by an easily-led and ungrateful mob. They have a point about Marcius' coldness when it comes to their need for corn, but he's not a dangerous character. Yes, he's more than a trifle haughty and dominated by a glory-hungry mother with vicious tendencies, but he is no threat to their young republic. He prefers to fight and leave the power trappings to others. He even declines booty he took from an enemy city.
Coriolanus being neither villain nor sympathetic hero is a problem with the play. So is the cast around him. There are two types of characters in "Coriolanus": his loyal but impotent patrician friends and the weaselly plebs who oppose him for largely obscure reasons. The characters lack depth, even Coriolanus's mother who goes from diabolic to dishwater in a few scenes.
The last four acts mix affecting scenes and great lines with a very choppy storyline. Coriolanus is always turning on a dime. Coriolanus vows not to wear humble robes in order to appeal to public favor, then does. He promises not to lose his temper in a key moment, and then does anyway with gusto. He tells his mother to go away one moment, and the next kneels before her. Coriolanus famously offers fewer soliloquies than any of Shakespeare's tragic heroes, perhaps because he doesn't have an inner self worth knowing.
I liked this play more as a Shakespeare buff. It's the flip side of his "Richard II." Richard II fatally overplays his sense of divine right as his subjects prove better than he deserves. Here, the title character is deserving but undone by common men who act in uniformly baser ways. The yin-yang idea of noblesse oblige in Shakespeare's day seems on display in these plays when considered together, presenting a kind of cultural bubble level that tilts depending on the angle of the viewer.
On its own, "Coriolanus" is occasionally gripping but ultimately frustrating reading, in need of an inspired director with a properly skewed take to give it the cohesion on stage it lacks on the page.
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Shakespeare's Greatest4 juin 1998
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Shakespeare's last and greatest tragedy, *Coriolanus* dramatizes the conflict between pride and envy--those two antagonists which were the favorite characters of ancient myth. Coriolanus is a man of Virtue, when virtue meant 'manliness' not 'modest chastity.' Above all, he had the virtue of pursuing virtue, which he refused to compromise and which he refused to hide. In contrast, the aristocracy and the mob whom they serve despised Coriolanus precisely because he was good and refused to be otherwise. *Coriolanus* is Shakespeare at the height of his powers, and the real tragedy is that this work is not better known.
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Incredible Characters of a "Lesser-Known" Masterpiece ...23 août 1998
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"Thy valientness is mine. Thou suckest it from me." That would be Volumnia's (Coriolanus' mother) quote -- and one of my favorites. "Coriolanus" is an intriguing story and the characters are marvelous. I have yet to see a better portrayal of a suffocating mother. Volumnia will live in my heart forever.
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Shakespeare's Greatest Tragedy14 janvier 2002
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This is Shakespeare's greatest tragedy in my opinion. Everybody talks about Macbeth, Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, and Romeo and Juliet, but Coriolanus for some reason is mostly, and unjustly, ignored. I feel that Coriolanus is the only pure tragedy among Shakespeare's works. Macbeth was a sociopath who brought all his troubles on himself; Hamlet was a confused young man who couldn't make a decision and who waited too long to get the job done; King Lear was an old fool who played games with his daughters and brought most of his problems on himself; Othello could have avoided his problems if he simply sat down and had a real conversation with his wife; and Romeo and Juliet were just a couple of immature kids who simply needed a few hard kicks in their butts. Coriolanus is different. Coriolanus was simply an honest, hard-working soldier who got the job done and told the truth, but was brought down by the guile of his enemies. That, in my opinion, is the greatest tragedy of them all. It seems that people either love or hate this play. Many consider Coriolanus to be a very unlikable character because he is supposedly arrogant, but I disagree. Coriolanus just worked hard, told the truth, was a straight shooter, and refused to play silly games by telling people what they wanted to hear. I guess I see something different in this play than most critics and readers of Shakespeare.